Salem II: Race summary

Kimmel triumphant at Salem, again. SALEM IN (9-15-02) When it comes to Salem Speedway, there's no stopping Frank Kimmel. Kimmel, with a bent racecar, steered the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford from the back to the front to win the action-packed...

Kimmel triumphant at Salem, again.

SALEM IN (9-15-02) When it comes to Salem Speedway, there's no stopping Frank Kimmel.

Kimmel, with a bent racecar, steered the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford from the back to the front to win the action-packed Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway. It was Kimmel's 5th consecutive win at Salem and 7th overall at the legendary half-mile, high-banked southern-Indiana oval. In addition, Kimmel chalked up his 43rd career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory.

"We got shoved up into the fence there a bit and it bent the rear end and knocked the toe out," said Kimmel. "Then the car got real tight and we started backing up. But Bill (Kimmel/crew chief) made some great calls; he got the handle back with stagger adjustments, gave me some fresh tires there at the end. I think the tires made the difference between me and Andy (Belmont)."

Andy Belmont, in his own Odoban Grease Control-AOL Ford, led the most laps and appeared to be on his way to his career-first RE/MAX Series victory when Kimmel, with a much-improved handle and fresher tires, reemerged as a force to be reckoned with. Kimmel, after coming from the tail-end of the lead lap cars, eventually tracked down Belmont and made the winning pass with 30 laps to go. Although Belmont kept Kimmel within reach for the remainder of the 200-lap race, the Penndel, Pennsylvania veteran was unable to mount the necessary challenge in time. Belmont held on for second after leading 85 laps overall to Kimmel's 76.

Leading ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie contender Chad Blount, who managed to lead nine laps, led the parade of rookies to the checkered flag in third place in Todd Braun's Dodge ahead of rookies' Chase Montgomery and Shelby Howard. Montgomery, in the Ronald McDonald Children Charities Chevrolet, held off Howard for fourth. Howard, in the Mike Sodrel for Congress Chevrolet, finished fifth.

At the onset, Old Milwaukee Pole winner Kimmel got the jump on outside polesitter Jerry Coble and bolted out to a ten-length advantage while Belmont, who started ninth, began his trek towards the front. Forty laps into the race, Belmont tracked down Kimmel for the lead and made the pass in time to lead the 44th lap. Belmont led up through lap 90 before Kimmel reclaimed the lead when Belmont got together with a lapped car. The altercation caved in Belmont's right-front fender forcing him to make an additional pit stop. Soon after, Kimmel bounced off the wall in turn four and had to make unscheduled pit stops in an effort to cure his handling woes resulting from hitting the wall.

Then Blount took charge and led laps 93 through 101 while Belmont and Kimmel charged back through the pack. About that time, Coble, making his career-first RE/MAX Series start in the Sadler Brothers Ford, raced by Blount for the lead and led 30 laps before Belmont raced back into the top-spot on lap 132. From there, Belmont stretched his advantage to a full straightaway and re-established himself as a serious contender for the win while Kimmel took advantage of late-race caution periods to pit for fresh tires and adjustments. That gave Kimmel the ammunition he would need to, not only catch, but pass Belmont late the race to earn the hard-fought victory. In the end, Kimmel's margin of victory over Belmont was 1.647 seconds.

Seven cautions, all for minor accidents, slowed the event for 39 laps while four drivers exchanged the lead six times.

Clarkston, Michigan second-generation driver Michael Simko finished a career-best sixth in Arne Henriksen's Engineered Components Ford ahead of Marietta, Georgia driver Mike Langston who finished a career-best seventh in only his second start. Former ARCA Rookie of the Year and Soddy Daisy, Tennessee driver Ron Cox finished eighth in the Buffalo Wild Wings Chevrolet with Lovejoy, Georgia rookie Doug Stevens trailing in ninth, the last car on the lead lap. Coble, who was every bit as stout as the front-runners, got caught on pit road and lost a lap in the exchange but still managed a tenth place finish.

Kimmel picked up the National Pork Board Pole/Win bonus for winning from the pole while Blount won the Loctite Halfway Leader award. Sixteen-year-old Springfield, Illinois rookie Justin Allgaier, who started 27th and finished 17th, won the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions. Brookville, Ohio driver Randy VanZant, whose oil pump failed just 10 laps into the race, was awarded the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award as a consolation.

-arca-

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Chase Montgomery , Shelby Howard , Doug Stevens , Ron Cox , Mike Langston , Justin Allgaier